Thursday, April 28, 2016

Aphorisms redux

I return, again and again, to one of my favorite types of writing. For me, aphorisms represent tiny mirrors which shine with flashes of color into Plato's cave.

Perhaps they represent a form of goodbye: so be it.

My reaction upon reading an aphorism is a shiver of delight, perhaps I am perceiving an effect on my humanity. Most of the aphorisms, for me, deal with relationships to my delight. Here we go:

"I work not only in script, I work not for the gathering and assimilation of knowledge, but also teach the fact that one can be brilliant without being arrogant. That great intellectual capacity brings great responsibility. That the quest for knowledge should never supplant the joy of learning. That one with great capacities, must learn to be tolerant and appreciate the wish with lesser or different absolutes."

Pain times resistance equals suffering.

Empathy equals project and connection.

Words can be perceived as weapons.

Earth has no sorrows that Earth cannot heal.

Is a multi-ethnic relationship a positive signal of human survival?

The sun falls upon a leaf and provides oxygen into the air.

"1. friendship, 2. freedom, 3. analysis." - Epicurius

"Getting old gracefully is the latter part of a fluid dance."

"A stranger, being a benefactor, is a relative not conforming.  A benefit is a stranger."

"Friendship is two people who join together in search of a higher truth."

"Empathy leads to joy of others."

"Each of us carries a flame to try to contribute to the family hearth."

"Is narcissism fueled by shame?"

"Is danger in the hands of others?"

 "Two paths, two transcendents: one is to look out at the universe and see yourself. The other is to look within yourself and see the universe"

"What makes you vulnerable is the source of love."

"Blame is a defense against shame."

"The person who commits suicide leaves their skeleton in the closet."

"Hatred is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies."

"Storytelling is healing."

"Going into the fear will make you stronger."

   I hope my Ukrainian heritage shows through in the above aphorisms.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A second look at my recommended films in my Blogger profile

 When I first set up my blog, these are films I listed as some of my all time favorite films. Looking back at this list, I've had second thoughts about the items recommend.

Harold & Maude, The King of Hearts, Harry and Tonto, The Soloist, The First Grade, Rabbit Proof Fence, Salt of the Earth, Made in Dagenham

   It seems clear to me, at my age, that the films Harold & Maude, Harry and Tonto and the King of Hearts represent a return to the womb of the puer.  As part of the necessary maturation and individuation process, using the anima as the bridge to our masculinity. I would like to replace the films upon deep concentration with the following films that do not include an obvious maternal orientation. 

    They are:

The Bucket List, The Green Mile, and strangely enough, The Deer Hunter, which illustrates respect for life in the generic sense. Harold & Maude can act as a template since Maude initiates Harold into adult sexuality and goodness knows, until he meets her, that he plays the role of the mischievous puer. 

    Please let me know your thoughts about the changes I am proposing. 

    The Bucket List, in this context, represents brolove as a developmental step forward. Have fun.



Thursday, March 10, 2016

A buoyant voice from my past

 I received the following happily surprising email from an anonymous person whom I helped 45 years ago.  When you choose to work in the healing professions, you act as a change agent without knowing the ultimate destination of your intervention. In this case, the ultimate destination was everything I hoped for for this individual. What a gift for this person to remember me, locate me and send me this remarkable email. Always remember, the most wonderful gifts are wrapped with no scarlet bows and we must be prepared at all times to be a gift giver and a gift receiver.

 My publication of this letter comes under the category of healthy narcissism and illustrates the power of reciprocity across time. These are literally snapshots in time and brought back a wealth of memories. Is there a person who you might need to thank as well? A teacher, coach, book author, artist, community builder or neighborhood friend? The buddy you walked to and from high school together with. The time you spend crafting a thank you will be a moment of joy for you and them. Please let me know if you follow through on this suggestion via a comment on this blog.

The Email I Received

Hello John Breeskin,

Today your name came into my mind so, what the hell, I googled it and found a picture of a viking named Sparky. 
It was about forty five years ago when I walked into your office at Malcolm Grow Medical Center and you became the first person I ever told that I was gay.  You suggested a choice of a discharge or group therapy.  I chose the therapy and it worked.  As it turns out I still have a friend I met in that group.

I met you again when I took a Univ. of Maryland Psychology course that you taught on base.  And I remember a third time we met when you led an encounter group at the Washington Free Clinic where I worked as a volunteer.  And now that you are so available and on my screen I will enjoying looking into your writing and videos.

As for me, I went on to have a great life with a satisfying career, lots of travel and a chance to help raise five step children.  I now have a dozen grandchildren under the age of 10 along with a wonderful, loving husband.  
So thanks for the advice and referral.  All those years ago I thought I was weird.  On the other hand with all your military bearing, you seemed so buttoned down and 'normal'. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sparky experiences a deep sense of loss

  I freely confess that when I read the news about Pat Conroy's at the age of 70, I burst into tears as if I had lost a dear old friend. I have never met the man in person, nor heard him speak, but through the years I have quoted his writings on several occasions and his thoughts remain a permanent tribute to what I've received from him. 
   I have read every book he has written and - with the exception of a film made called The Prince of Tides - starring Barbara Streisand - I recommend all of his books. My objections to the film is that it centers around the ultimate diva, Barbara Streisand - whose reputation in show business is abysmal. The whole movie is about her and not about the protagonist.
    Among his most powerful writings is a book called Conrack - or The Water is Wide - which talks about his year of teaching on an offshore island of Georgia. His attempts to socialize the minority population meets with a resounding defeat, but it doesn't slow Conrack, in spite of vehement opposition from the mainland.
    Of course, The Great Santini talks about the conflict between the young and the old, with a particular edge to it - and once again the work of James Hillman helps with a depth of understanding.
    I feel that I have lost an old friend and my column this week is a tribute to our history together.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A test: How female is your brain?

The extent to which men and women exhibit masculine or feminine behavior is dependent on the organization of the brain into male or female patterns. What gives us a male or female brain is the degree to which are embryonic brains are exposed to male hormone. The die is cast in utero; after that, the luggage of our bodies, and society's expectations of us, merely supplement this biological fact of life.

It is possible to be female and have some male mind attributes (and vice versa), and this simply depends on the presence or absence of the male hormone during certain stages of pregnancy.
It is also possible, as with the following, to test how male or female your mind is:
1 You hear an indistinct meow. Without looking around how well can you place the cat?
(a) If you can think about it you can point to it.
(b) You can point straight to it.
(c)  You don't know if you could point to it.
2. How good are you at remembering a song you just heard?
a.            You find it easy and you can sing part of it in tune.
b.            You can only do it if it's simple and rhythmical.
c.            You find it difficult. 3 a person you've met a few times telephones you.
3. How easy is it for you to recognize that voice in a few seconds before the person tells you who they are?
(a) You'd find it quite easy.
(b) You recognize the voice at least half the time. You'd recognize the voice less than half the time.

4. You’re with a group of married friends. Two of them are having a clandestine affair. Would you detect their relationship?
(a) Nearly always.
(b) Half the time.
(c) Seldom
5. You’re at a large and purely social gathering. You're introduced to five strangers. If their names are mentioned the following day, how easy is it for you to picture their faces?
(a) You'll remember most of them.
(b) You remember a few of them.
(c) You'll sell them remember any of them.

6 in your early school days, how easy was spelling and the writing of essays?
(a) Both were quite easy.
(b)  One was easy. 
(c)Neither was easy.

7 You spot a parking place but you must reverse into it and it's going to be a fairly tight squeeze:
a.            You look for another space.
b.            You back into it carefully.
c.            You reverse into it without much thought.
8 You’ve spent three days in a strange village and someone ask you which way is north:
a.            you're unlikely to know.
b.            You're not sure but given a moment you can work it out.
c.            You point north.
9  You're in a dentist waiting room with a half dozen people of the same sex as yourself. How close can you sit to one of them without feeling uncomfortable?
(a) Less than 6 inches.
(b) 6 inches to two feet.
(c) Over to feet.

10. When you're visiting your new neighbor and the two of you are talking. There is a tap dripping gently in the background. Otherwise the room is quiet.
(a) You notice the dripping sound immediately and try to ignore it.
(b)  If you noticed it you probably mention it.
(c) It doesn't bother you at all.

Scoring the Test

Males score:
a.            10 points
b.            5 points
c.            - 5 points
Females scores:
a.            15 points
b.            5 points
c.            - 5 points
Unanswered questions count for five points.
Most males will score between 0 and 60. Most females will score between 50 and 100. The overlap scores between 50 and 60 indicates a thought compatibility between the sexes. We waited the score for the first response because men, it's been found, tend to overestimate their feminine qualities and women tend to underestimate theirs.

Mail scores below zero and female scores above 100.2 a very different wired brain than that of the opposite sex yet differences also attract. Male scores above 60 may show a brain sex-biased the female. Females who score below 50 may show a brain sex-biased to the mail.

All such differences however are average differences. Males might score above 60 and still possess a male brain. A female might score below 50 and still possess a female brain. There are deeper differences that can show up in such a simple test. It is those differences that must be explored. 

If you have never thought to ask my scores, it is a negative number - Sparky


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Sparky's Pop Quiz

(This will count for 371% of your gender grade; just kidding.)

Interpersonal relationships are changing in our society so rapidly that the pace is literally dizzying. This quick quiz will let you know if you are capable of hanging out on the street corner with the big kids. Please let me know your score.

1. Have you logged onto chat-roulette? (If you have, lose 15% of your grade.)
2. How do you feel about Sarah Silverman? (I think she's adorable.)
3. Have you read The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy or Opening Up a Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan Taormino? Please quote one sentence from each book if you have.
4. Do you know what the term "polyamorous" means? (If not, why not?)
5. Do you know what the term compersion means? (If not, why not?)
6. Are you familiar with the practice of tantric sex? (If no, why?)
7. Have you ever heard of Chelsey Handler? (If not you might watch out for her.)
8. Have you ever heard of Stacyann Chinn? If you watch her, turn down the thermostat in your house.
9. Do you belong to an Urban Tribe? (If so, you gain 50 bonus points.)
10. Have you searched on the Internet for It Gets Better?

A prompt reply to this quiz will be very much appreciated.

Sparky the Bold

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Sparky's breathrough

   Like a cork popping out of a bottle of fine champagne, I have finally been able to get rid of many "transitional objects."  As a result, I have "lightened my load" and taken the transitional objects inside in my heart where they permanently ensconced. This has enabled me to get rid of many totemic images and help with my perennial efforts and downsizing. Amazingly enough, I do not experience sadness over the loss of these objects, but know that they have continued their journey as I must continue mine.
   My picture framer is taking all of my framed posters and putting them up for sale in his shop and I will keep only the pictures of my various families. Once again I will experience a deep sense of relief.
   Stay tuned for further developments as Sparky continues to downsize.  Sparky, whose shelves are bare, but whose heart is filled.